Mark Udall is upping the stakes in his argument with the Obama administration on the role of the National Security Administration. Along with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, Udall sent a letter to the Solicitor General saying that the Obama administration had contributed to what they called a “culture of misinformation” about the NSA’s warrantless surveillance. According to a story in the New York Times, Udall’s letter accused the administration of trying to “justify” statements — now challenged by the Edward Snowden NSA leaks — it made to the Supreme Court in a 2012 case involving the surveillance.
In Idaho, federal judge Candy Dale has struck down that state’s gay marriage ban, trolling Supreme Court Justice Scalia in the process. From the ruling: “The practical effect of Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban is ‘to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma’ on a class of people based solely on their sexual orientation.” Don’t take another sip of coffee for 15 seconds. Let that sink in. Gay marriage bans have been struck down as unconstitutional in Idaho, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas… etc. It’s all over but the shouting. And no, Mike Huckabee, impeaching judges won’t turn the tide.
If you want to know how a phony scandal is born, just watch as the Republicans try to tie the Nigerian kidnappings to Hillary Clinton. No, seriously. It all starts with Fox, of course. And then it goes to Rush Limbaugh and back to Fox and eventually to the House floor, where, coincidentally, the story sounds exactly the same — that Clinton, as Secretary of State, was somehow in the tank for Boko Haram. As Dana Milbank reports in the Washington Post, it’s a classic smear campaign. Will it work? If it doesn’t, there’s always next time.
Oh, wait. We don’t have to wait until next time. Karl Rove is already working on the next one — that Hillary Clinton is brain-damaged. Via the Atlantic.
Republicans are planning for a wave election to push them to a Senate majority. Election guru Larry Sabato also sees a Republican wave. But he’s not sure how big it will be. Via Politico.
In the wake of the Oklahoma death penalty debacle, the courts have delayed a planned Texas execution.
Vermont’s independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on the Ed Show talking about Marco Rubio’s nationally televised climate science denialism (at 3:00 minutes below): “I gotta say this, Ed. I really gotta say this. Look, you and I have all kinds of differences with Republicans, but to totally reject what the scientific community is saying is really embarrassing for our nation, frankly.”
One more reason that the student-debt problem has to be resolved: It’s killing the housing market. Via the Washington Post.
Remember the states that turned down the Obamacare Medicaid money? Guess what – their Medicaid rolls are growing anyway. And it’s costing them. Via Vox.
Spills: “The U.S. oil-and-gas industry was responsible for at least 7,662 spills, blowouts, and leaks in 2013, an average of about 20 spills per day, an 18 percent increase in the number of spills counted in 2012.” Though mostly small spills, the cumulative volume was more than 26 million gallons of “oil, gas, hydraulic fracturing fluid, and other substances.” Caveat: Louisiana, one of the likely highest sites of spills, didn’t make data available for the Energy Wire analysis. Via Think Progress.